If you’ve been thinking of starting an indie comics publishing company, know that the industry has an immense growth potential with a whole new fan following. Audiences are waking up to the mesmerizing art form of independent comics and graphic novels. The skillful story-telling and beautifully illustrated books that use frames to move the tale forward have captured the interest of ardent fans that follow titles like the Midnight Task Force, Dav Pilkey’s kid-centric Dog Man, and various others.
The Indie Comics Industry is Poised for a Great Leap
It might interest you to know that despite several ups and downs in the last few years, the industry grosses around $1 billion each year in sales from digital comics, periodicals, trade books, and indie comics in various genres. And, that’s a fact corroborated by the Forbes magazine. While giants like DC Comics and Marvel are ruling the game and have experienced authors and designers on board, the market has a burst of new writers developing characters that appeal to the adult and more mature reader. Should you set out to scout the arena, you’ll come across highly advanced independent and graphic novels in an interesting selection of genres such as horror, sex, crime, sci-fi, fantasy, futuristic, and medieval to name a scarce few. And, publishing houses are targeting just about every age group from young children to adults.
If you’re keenly interested in creating your own line of indie comics and feel you have the skills and artistic talent, one of the first areas you need to cover is the marketing. Here are some of the best sales strategies you can adopt.
- Get Financing from Crowdfunding Platforms like Kickstarter
For successful marketing and selling, the first hurdle you’ll need to cross is getting the necessary funds. Developing indie comics is an intensely creative work that can take a couple of years to write, illustrate, print, and market. Most writers work on their own time with little bandwidth for a job alongside to earn a living. For this reason, they devote all of their time and personal savings into getting each book ready for publication. And, that usually leaves little funding for advertising and marketing.
However, thanks to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, it is now possible to get the necessary cash to make your dream a reality. Take your project to the platform and you might just be able to get people to invest in your business. But, can that really work? Thomas Bidaux of ICO Partners is an industry analyst working out of the UK. He reported on Twitter that comic-based entrepreneurs managed to raise $15.3 million in the year 2018 which was a surprising jump from the $12 million in the last 3 years.
- List Your Books on Comic-Centric Platforms
In a world where the internet rules the marketing arena, you’ll need to make sure your products are available to readers who are searching for them. Thankfully, there are several platforms that list new releases of indie comics so their fans can find them. A few good examples include Newsarama, PreviewsWorld and CBR.com while Diamond Comics is a well-known distributor. The only downside is that new entrants make it to the front pages of the platform and older covers are typically pushed back. Until potential buyers know exactly what they’re looking for, it could be hard for all releases to find adequate room. For this reason, you’ll need to combine this advertising move with other strategies.
- Make Your Indie Comics More Readily Available
Lack of exposure and easy availability of books in this genre of literature is one of major setbacks and hurdles in the sales they deserve. Further, only readers who know where to find the books are able to buy them. And, that’s because mainstream book stores don’t stock them. Typically, stores selling digital gadgets and other goods, book fairs, and off-the-beaten-track retailers may only carry them. Most sellers are wary of investing in literature that they’re not sure they can sell. For this reason, the vendors may not pay you for the books they buy from you until a specific time frame fearing that they may end up with dead stock on their hands that has no demand. A good move may be to offer your creations to owners of regular bookstores for better exposure.
- Build a Digital Platform for Your Publishing House
With the entire world going digital and companies from just about every niche using the internet to market their goods, you must create an online platform for your indie comics. Using Content Marketing Tools like WordPress, you can download and build a website free of cost. Adopt the other digital marketing strategies available online along with economical hosting servers. You may just find that not only can you make it possible for fans to order products directly from you, but you can also release digital versions. Die-hard fans are likely to buy hard copies as collectors’ items given that vintage comics can now sell for millions of dollars. Find that hard to believe? Check out this feature on Mashable and you’ll be impressed.
- Support Other Publishers and Offer Bulk Deals
Unlike mainstream novels, books, and other literature, readers may not want to buy new titles unless they find them somewhat interesting. To build up that interest and induce buyers to want to buy further releases following the same storyline, you could offer the initial indie comics at low prices. Raise the prices of subsequent issues or offer bulk deals on multiple issues so fans want to buy them. Many authors also promote the work of other writers along with theirs in an attempt to give exposure to different books that readers may want to buy as part of a package.
Advertising and marketing your creations of indie comics, alternative comics, graphic novels, and other literature in this genre is not all that difficult. Considering the innovative nature of the books, you’ll need inventive methods of carving out a unique niche in the market. So, what’s your next move?